There are six tribal nations whose tribal lands overlap with the eight counties of the Northland Connection region. Each community is home to unique cultures and traditions while sharing similarities within an interconnected economic base. Major industries include education, healthcare, and arts and entertainment, with resorts and casinos among major employers, along with hospitals, schools, and universities. Agriculture, hunting, fishing, and forestry also contribute to distinct tribal economies.
The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa is focused in three main locations: Nett Lake Reservation surrounding Nett Lake in the counties of Koochiching and St. Louis; Deer Creek Reservation in Itasca County; and Lake Vermilion Reservation in southeastern Greenwood Township on Lake Vermilion, just west of the city of Tower.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation is located in the counties of Carlton and St. Louis, adjacent to the city of Cloquet and about 15 miles west of Duluth. Tribal headquarters are in Cloquet with over 4,200 members living in the area.
The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation is located in Cook County in the northeast tip of Minnesota, on the site of one of the earliest Ojibwe settlements in the area. It is bordered to the north by Canada, to the south and east by the north shore of Lake Superior, and to the west by Grand Portage State Forest.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe reservation lands are focused in north central Minnesota, including portions of Itasca County, approximately 100 miles south of the Canadian border. About 9,500 members live on Leech Lake Reservation, which includes the Chippewa National Forest.
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe includes more than 4,300 member citizens who live primarily on the Mille Lacs Reservation in the east central part of the state, including Aitkin County.
The Red Lake Nation is located in northwestern Minnesota, including portions of Koochiching County. Reservation communities include Little Rock, about five miles west of Red Lake, Ponemah where the Upper and Lower Red Lakes meet, and Redby, which sits five miles east of Red Lake. Red Lake Nation is the only American Indian tribe in the United States that grows and harvests its own wild rice on local lands.
Learn more about the region’s tribal nations here: https://www.census.gov/tribal/